August 30, 2002 - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - FotoDocs: photography between commission and autonomy
August 30, 2002

FotoDocs: photography between commission and autonomy

FotoDocs: photography between commission and autonomy
September 6 – November 3, 2002

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum
Museumpark 18-20, 3015 CX Rotterdam

Eddy Posthuma de Boer and Violette Cornelius, De Verbinding (1962), unpaginated, text: Jan Elburg photography: Violette Cornelius and Eddy Posthuma de Boer design: Jurriaan Schrofer client: Staatsbedrijf der PTT, Den Haag © Nederlands Fotoarchief (nfa), Rotterdam and Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Amsterdam

‘When does photography become art?’ That is the question raised by the exhibition ‘Fotodocs’ in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. Six separate presentations focus on the relationship between photography and art. The point of departure is the growing interest in photography as an (important) art-form over the past thirty years. Not only because artists have been resorting to photography more and more since the 1960s, but also due to the growing acknowledgement of ‘pure’ photographers’ work as art (often retrospectively). ‘Fotodocs’ addresses both aspects: the status of photography between documentary and an autonomous art-form.

The presentation is framed by a survey of the heyday of Dutch corporate photography books from 1945 to 1965 – work with a purely documentary character – and by highlights from the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum’s collection of photography, a selection of photographs conveying an impression of how artists use the medium in an autonomous fashion. ‘Fotodocs’ consists furthermore of solo presentations of work by three generations of Rotterdam photographer/artists (Ine Lamers, Edgar Cleijne and the Wally Elenbaas/Esther Hartog team), and also of the project ‘Solutions for Today’ by the British designer/photographer Jeremy Edwards.

Edgar Cleijne

After graduating from the Rotterdam Conservatory, Edgar Cleijne (Eindhoven, 1963) embarked on his African travels, living in Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos. His photography brought him into contact with architect Rem Koolhaas in 1997, with whom he collaborated on the Harvard Project ‘the city’, set up by Koolhaas at Harvard University and pinpointing Lagos. In 2002, together with Bregtje van der Haak (VPRO TV), Cleijne made the film ‘Lagos Live’. The photographs he took in Lagos over the past two years prompt reflections on human intervention. Aerial photos show the effect of such intervention on a macro-level as well as in people’s everyday living and working environments, such as an office interior

Ine Lamers

Ine Lamers (Wychen, 1954) integrates photography and film in a highly individual manner. The pictures she takes with photo and film cameras are ostensibly high-resolution snapshots of the world around us, but they are never unambiguous. The exhibition features a number of photographs from earlier series (1994-2002) and the first presentation of a video and slide projection called ‘One or two things I know about Chisinau’. This ‘novel in pictures’ is about the desolate Moldavian capital. The bad economic situation in the former Soviet republic means electricity cuts and forces the younger generation, their dogged optimism notwithstanding, to resort to bizarre means in order to survive. A book (NAi Publishers) about Ine Lamers’ work accompanies the exhibition.

Dutch Corporate Photo Books 1945 – 1965

Works by photographers like Violette Cornelius, Cas Oorthuys, Ed van der Elsken, Ad Windig and Paul Huf.

Wally Elenbaas and Esther Hartog

Photographic themes reflecting personal lives: each other, friends, journeys, still lifes and the nearby surroundings of Katendrecht.

Solutions for Today by Jeremy Edwards

Pictures in big cities of simple, makeshift solutions for practical problems encountered in everyday situations.

A selection from the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum’s photography collection

The selection includes early examples from the 1970s and traces the development to recent acquisitions which include work by Allan Sekula, Gabriel Orozco and Rineke Dijkstra.

Fotodocs Factsheet

Fotodocs is a part of “Another look at the city”, the second week-end of September in Rotterdam (five weekends of art and culture.) Dutch Corporate Photo Books 1945 – 1965 is the first of a new series of ‘Beeldcultuur in Nederland’, an initiative of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund.

The following publications appear concurrently with Fotodocs:

Parallel to the exhibition Dutch Corporate Photo Books 1945 – 1965, 010 Publishers (Rotterdam) issue ‘Het bedrijfsfotoboek 1945 – 1965. Professionalisering van fotografen in Nederland’. This is the first of a new series of Beeldcultuur in Nederland [Visual Culture in the Netherlands], edited by Professor Dr. Bram Kempers. The publication is an initiative of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund. Illustrated. Dutch text, English summary.

Duo Duo Foundation/Publishers issue the first publication on the photographic work of Wally Elenbaas: De honderd gezichten van Esther Hartog [The hundred faces of Esther Hartog], containing a number of remarkably serene nudes. Illustrated. Dutch text. Hard-bound edition.

To mark the presentation of Ine Lamers’ work, NAi Publishers issue ‘Motives’. Ine Lamers’ selection for this publication contains photo-works dating from 1994 to 2001 and a few examples of her new film installations. Authors: Chris Dercon (foreword), Frits Gierstberg, Maaijke Bleeker, Frank Vande Veire. Illustrated (in colour). Dutch and English text.

For prices and more information please visit our website:, or call our Press Office at 00 31 10 44 19 471. You may also send an e-mail to

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum

Museumpark 18-20, 3015 CX Rotterdam

Internet: / e-mail:

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays and public holidays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Mondays, January 1, April 30 and December 25

Access for wheelchair visitors

How to get there : the museum is a 15-minute walk from Centraal Station.

Public transport: no. 5 tram from the station, alight at Witte de Withstraat; no. 32 and 39 buses, alight at Rochussenstraat; metro station Eendrachtsplein.

Parking: Westblaak parking garage, 88 Westblaak (entrance via Hartmanstraat).

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
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